Apartment Smart, NZ Herald, 16 February 2011

I have just bought an apartment with a huge living space which I needed because I will be living and working here. I am about to sort out furniture for the space but I wanted to consult a design person about how best to configure the pieces.

I would like a big table to work at, and eat at, I would like some comfortable seating for when I’m taking a break and entertaining. I am just very concerned that I keep the various functions as separate as I can, so that I relax when in the sitting area and switch off. There is a huge wall I can put a screen in, if I want down time. I do have a separate kitchen and bedroom so keeping them separate shouldn’t be a problem.”.

  • One of the hardest things when working from home is to have a clear work/life balance. You do need to plan your space carefully so seeing housework does not distract you from work and work papers lying around do not stop you relaxing.
  • A large dining/working table is a nice idea but just be sure you have a space to stash your papers when you are entertaining. A good way to help a space multi task is to have good storage.  This keeps clutter under control.
  • Rather than using the dining table as a desk consider a custom made bookshelf with a desk and shelving (for your computer and printer) that has sliding doors that can then be closed to hide your work space when you have finished working for the day and ready to relax and entertain.
  • In a large space separate areas can be created very effectively by using a room divider such as a free standing movable screen or open bookshelves to allow some sections of the room to be private. Keep the screen and bookshelves to around shoulder height so that they gently define the living and working spaces but do not divide the room to look smaller.
  • There are a wide variety of interesting screens available including vintage, mid century styles and contemporary flexible curvy screens.  Of course you can also custom make if your budget allows. Have a little fun with these, they can help create a very different look for your apartment and don’t be afraid to change things around.


“I wanted up to date colours to move me out of the 70′s and thought I could do it on my own but the choices didn’t seem to work. Karen’s training pointed me in the right direction so that carpet and paint colours in different areas work together. I have the more modern look I wanted and have moved the colours of my home into the present.”
– Colleen, Epsom

Elegant and classy…

“We started with a tired, worn apartment and with Karen’s knowledge and guidance on colour, product and placement, ended up with a very elegant and classy result that we are very proud of.”
– Character CBD apartment, Auckland

The result we wanted…

“Karen’s professional advice and approach produced exactly the result we wanted. Our 1960′s home now has a contemporary look and still feels like home. The new kitchen looks clean and modern. She sourced excellent choices of appliances and lights. Her advice on the whole design process produced an excellent result and all of our friends have commented on how great it looks.”
– Larraine and David, Northcote